It is beneficial to visit your GP or family planning clinic for regular medical check-ups. Particularly if you are at high risk of a specific disease.
Screening tests help GPs to detect many diseases, such as cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and some cancers in their early stages.
If you are sexually active, it’s also important to keep an eye on your sexual health.
Cervical screening tests, STI screening and pregnancy check-ups
Health checks from your GP can include:
Cervical screening test
An important screening test to pick up signs of irregularities that could lead to cervical cancer if not treated. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. As of December 2017, the Pap test (every 2 years) has been replaced by the Cervical Screening Test (every 5 years), which detects human papillomavirus (HPV).
Cervical Screening Tests are necessary if you have ever been sexually active. Your first Cervical Screening Test should be two years after your last Pap test. You will be invited to have your Cervical Screening Test when you are due to participate, via the National Cancer Screening Register. It is recommended that you have the test every five years until you are 74. Even if you have had the HPV vaccine, it is important to continue to have regular Cervical Screening Tests.
If you are under 30 years of age and sexually active, have a urine test for chlamydia each year, as chlamydia can affect your fertility and often has no symptoms. If you have sex with one or more new partners without a condom, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about checking for other sexually transmissible infections.
Have a general check-up before planning a pregnancy to discuss any pregnancy health risks. Once you are pregnant, regular antenatal checks help monitor your baby’s development, pick up abnormalities and assess your health. Tests include ultrasound scans, urine tests and blood tests.
Breast cancer health checks for women
If you notice any breast changes, be sure to visit your GP within the next week.
Women aged between 50 and 74 years who have no personal or family history of breast cancer are recommended to have a screening mammogram (breast X-ray) every two years.
If you have a personal or family history of breast cancer, your doctor can help you to decide how often you need to be screened.
Where to get checked and tested
- Your GP
- Local health services
Better Health Channel – Health checks for women
- Self-checking health checks for women
- Cervical Screening Tests, STI screening and pregnancy check-ups for women
- Heart health checks for women
- Diabetes health checks for women
- Breast cancer health checks for women
- Eye health checks for women
- Bowel cancer health checks for women
- Bone density health checks for women
- Immunisation for women
- Other health tests for women
Body Talk – Sexual health checks
- When do I need a sexual health check?
- What’s involved in a sexual health check?
- Will it hurt?
Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT – STI screening and checks
Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT – Cervical screening
ACT Government – Canberra Sexual Health Centre